Norwegian school pioneers circadian lighting

A new school is Norway is pioneering ground-breaking circadian lighting in an attempt to improve pupils’ performance and well-being.

The new Kongsgardmoen School in Kongsberg opens this week to its intake of 230 primary school pupils. Lighting researchers and scientists will follow the results of the experiment closely to see if so-called ‘tuneable’ lighting can change schoolchildren’s behaviour and academic performance. It’s one of the first full circadian lighting systems in an educational establishment anywhere in the world.

The school has installed luminaires with adjustable colour temperature, with LED light sources that can be tuned from cool white to warm white light. All classrooms are equipped with the technology, making this the most comprehensive human-centric LED lighting installation to date.

When the children arrive in the morning, they are greeted by a cool white and intensive energy light for the first class. The cool white light regulates the production of stress and sleep hormones in the children’s (and the teacher’s) bodies. The light therefore shifts their daily rhythms forward, making them more active during the day and tired when the night falls. This also has a positive impact on the children’s sleep patterns.

Later in the day, the teacher may activate a focus light when it’s time for concentration tasks such as math tests or writing exercises. A shower of cool white and intensive light increases short term concentration and alertness. When the pupils gather in the front of the class room to listen to the teacher telling a story, a warm white light creates a nice and relaxing atmosphere. These adjustments are made by the teacher who are being trained to use the sophisticated system. The system also has a standard setting, which is a neutral white, good working light.

 

    

The luminaires used are modular LED luminaires with sources that shift the colour according to pre-defined or manual settings. The colour rendering of the light is very high (at over Ra90), much higher than the minimum requirements for school lighting in Norway. This makes colouring, reading and writing easier and more pleasant. Colour tuning is made easy for the teacher through a wall mounted user panel. The system was supplied by Glamox.